One of the key roles of the DIZ is to examine programmes and projects that have been successfully tested or applied in ‘smart cities’ and assess their benefit to a geography such as the DIZ ie. a mixture of small urban market towns and rural surroundings that more closely reflects the economic and social reality of the rest of the UK.

The partners also look at innovative solutions to some major public service challenges eg. pressures on A&E departments, lack of rural connectivity. The graphic illustrates some of the projects that the DIZ is exploring or has undertaken.

Waiting times in A&E departments and pressure on emergency services is a critical issue for residents and the health care economy. The DIZ won a competition for consultancy support from The Design Council and Local Government Association to examine new digital approaches to this entrenched healthcare challenge. The DIZ established a team with members from a local authority, the local acute hospital, the clinical commissioning group, the community nursing provider and a local GP to look at how this might be addressed in a specific local area. The team has come up with a number of recommendations based on additional support and information for emergency crews and first attenders. These are currently being developed in conjunction with NHS partners. To learn more about the projects please click on these links to recent articles

LGA ‘first Magazine Article (page 21):

Municipal Journal Article:

For more information please contact Mike Warr at or on 01992 564472

One of the areas the DIZ has been looking at is how we can help people help themselves through provision of timely information to inform choices. The team carried out initial analysis around the concept of an Open Data Source that could provide real-time information such as live waiting times in A&E departments, air quality, car parking availability, public transport. While partners felt that this would be a beneficial scheme that could be deployed across the geography and that the technology existed to underpin this, resource constraints meant that it was not possible to pursue the project at the time.

For more information please contact Mike Warr at or on 01992 564472

The DIZ partners together own a huge range of assets in terms of land, roads, buildings, facilities etc. that could provide the infrastructure to underpin a more rapid rollout of high speed digital connectivity or support a network of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, transmitters and receivers.

A workshop was held with representatives of health, local authority and private sector service providers to explore enhanced mapping products that could provide up to date information on the location of all the various assets in current public ownership. The intention is to develop a GIS based common mapping package for public sector providers across the DIZ with up to date and comprehensive information. This, in turn, would provide the platform to underpin an effective bid to future infrastructure / connectivity funding programmes such as DCMS’s Local Full Fibre Network Programme and Rural Connected Communities Programme.

For more information please contact Mike Warr at or on 01992 564472

Provision of the best connectivity is one of the key aims of the DIZ. Partners have indicated their research shows an uneven provision of connectivity in town centres across the DIZ. Partners also raised longer term concerns about high street viability and the need to maintain and promote footfall to our town centres.

It was suggested that by operating as a consortia the DIZ could attract the private sector to provide a solution across the DIZ that would deliver free town centre wi-fi at no public cost. The DIZ has negotiated with a number of private sector providers to try and achieve this outcome however the business model does not appear to be viable without public subsidy or investment. Although quotes have been obtained covering all the major town centres of the DIZ, partners are concerned that this does not represent full value for money for the taxpayer. A consultant has been commissioned to undertake a cost / benefit review of the free wi-fi compared with the provision of enhanced mobile connectivity on our high streets before a final decision is taken on the next steps.

For more information please contact Mike Warr at or on 01992 564472